Spouses of Aliens (ah-hem) Mexicans: This Book’s For You

As some of my readers already know, my husband is Mexican and can’t apply for a visa to live in the U.S. until he’s lived outside the U.S. for TEN YEARS. That’s why I moved to Mexico. That’s why it was so hard to move to Mexico. I felt wrongly exiled and quite overwhelmed. We had no funds to buy a nice house and had to take jobs earning “regular Mexican” wages.  I had to give up my career and time with family and friends.  At first I felt totally alone going through this. All the information I could find about moving to Mexico was written for people with money who were (apparently) looking for a leisurely life in the sun.

I was in this other group of silently suffering people. I felt like this person, who wrote me in October 2008 with a story that brought back memories:

We have been together for 4 years.  I always thought that if things got serious enough for us (i.e. getting married) that we would ‘figure out’ a way to get him documented to be in the U.S.  Well, the past year or so has been eye opening to say the least.  He has always told me that it is ‘not that easy’ for him to become documented just by us getting married, but I never understood this – as in, if he is my husband, HOW can the gov’t tell me he can’t be here with me?!

–Christina

Christina had been told that her boyfriend would have to be out of the U.S. for up to 2 years and that his petition to live in the U.S. might not be approved. If the petition is approved, she is lucky – though she was feeling anything but lucky when she heard that news. She is facing losing a job she loved, moving to a country where she is concerned about being able to continue in her career and having to work long hours and Saturdays, being far away from family and friends, the cost of paying for a lawyer, etc.

Does this sound familiar? It does to me, except that I was even less lucky. My then boyfriend fell under section 212(a)(9)(C)(I) of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which “renders inadmissible those aliens who were previously unlawfully present in the United States for an aggregate period of more than one year who enter or attempt to re-enter the United States without being admitted [as in: he had gone home to visit his family and come back the only way he could]. These aliens are permanently inadmissible, however, after they have been outside the United States for at least 10 years [emphasis mine], they may seek consent to reapply for admission from the Attorney General” (source: http://www.shusterman.com/aos-up.html) Back then (it was 2001), we were some of the first people to fall under that section of the Act, which came into effect in 1997.

We were among the first, but I knew that we couldn’t be the only ones going through an enforced move to Mexico, so I set out to write my book and create this web site to help others like us.  About 8 years later, through this web site, I suddenly began to get lots of emails from other people (mostly women) who are moving/have had to move to Mexico to either wait for approval of their spouses’ visa, like Christina, or to wait out the same 10 year bar we were under.

Meanwhile, to reach a broader audience with this web site, I had researched and addressed the needs of those who want to retire in Mexico – really, of anyone who might want to live in Mexico on a budget or tackle culture shock and cultural integration as part of their move to Mexico — but, spouses of “aliens,” at its heart, this site and, especially my book, are for YOU.

I know you probably feel like you have no money now that you have to move to another country where you will suddenly be earning a tenth of what you do now, but I encourage you to buy my book for yourself. You don’t have to go through this alone. My husband and I have already done it and I wrote down everything that I needed to know and had to learn the hard way. YOU DON’T NEED TO LEARN THE HARD WAY. There are many details in my book that I don’t put up on my web site for free. I promise you won’t be sorry.

Amanda Hernandez is another person forced to live in Mexico and I asked her to read my book and write a review from that perspective–and she liked it! You can read her review of Mexico: The Trick is Living Here on her blog. In fact, she liked the book right from the start. She hadn’t finished the review yet, but she’d already recommended to two people that they buy my book.  The book can really save you trouble (and money) in the long run. For example, in reading her blog for December 15, 2008, she mentions confusion with apostilles for documents. In my book I tell you what apostilles are, how to get them, and which documents should be done before you move. This will save you the kind of stress and costs that come from having these details come up as last-minutes surprises, like they did for me and for Amanda. The apostilles actually provide a good example of this. The cost of the book, $19.95 (USD), is roughly what you would spend on courier services for getting apostilles done from Mexico, not to mention the cost of international phone calls, the return courier fee, and the difficulty of paying for the apostille from outside your home state.  Buying the book will save you time and money in the long run — not to mention stress.

Take it from people who have been through it, it’s helpful to get the information you need ahead of time. Here’s an excerpt of an email that I received from Stephanie Bolton Olvera, who is now safely back in the U.S. with her husband, but who recognized the usefulness of the information I provide.

Dear Julia –

I came across your website tonight and thought it was absolutely wonderful. I’m 25 years old and lived in Mexico a couple of years ago. My husband is originally from Mexico and while we were trying to figure out his U.S. residency – he lived in Mexico and I was able to join him for a while. … I’m glad you touched on all of the emotions one feels while leaving in a foreign country. When I moved to Mexico – I had never done a load of laundry – boy, was I surprised when I had to wash clothes by hand! I kicked the habit of drinking a daily Dr. Pepper (because I couldn’t find one in the town I lived in) and I learned to speak Spanish.

I can’t say that I LOVED living in Mexico – I was quite lonely and homesick but it is an experience I wouldn’t trade for the world. My eyes were opened to a new world and a different way of living.

My husband is a realtor who helps U.S. Americans & Canadians relocate to Mexico – I’m going to pass this along to his clients and if you don’t mind I’ll put the link to your site in his monthly newsletter.

I also participate on an immigration website and I think your site would be such a valuable tool to the families on that site who relocate to Mexico.

Best wishes on your e-book and your life in Mexico.

–Stephanie Bolton Olvera

I know, part of what makes people willing to enter into relationships with people of another culture is a natural sense of adventure, but you don’t have to move to Mexico blind. You can treat yourself to a guide book that will help you plan for and adjust to living in Mexico. If I don’t convince you, let Amanda, Stephanie, Christina, and the others convince you.

35 comments

  1. bob cox Dec 30

    This is a sad fact of life that is repeated over & over..exiled by your own country… a country without a heart, but if you have an entrepreneural outlook you may find that you’ve landed in paradise…”just don’t throw me in that briar patch br’er fox”.

  2. Julia Taylor Dec 31

    Bob Cox,

    You are so right. It’s one of those human tragedies (and it’s definitely not the worst tragedy of the bunch) that probably goes back as long as there have been governments.

    It is all in how you respond to the curves life throws you!

    Regards,

    Julia C Taylor

  3. Monica B. Vazquez Jan 27

    wow. thank u for writing this book i was born in the usa and my husband was born in mexico we have 2 children of our own and my 11 year old is my son from my first marriage who adores his stepdad. we have everything here and now he is in mex and we are apart. I am angry with a country that I love because we also have to wait 10 yrs. oh but they let others into this country who want to do us harm. that is very upsetting.

  4. Julia Taylor Jan 27

    Monica,
    Hang in there. It IS very hard. I’m so sorry you, your husband, and your children are separated. 10 years is a very long time when it comes to children’s lives.

    I was pretty angry too when it happened to us and I chose to move to Mexico, but I was NOT a happy camper.

    Kindest Regards,
    Julia C Taylor

  5. Tosha Sanchez Apr 10

    Its so hard not knowing if your husband will be safe (in the us) with people against immigrants every way you look. My husband and i are 20 years old, and have a beautiful baby girl together. We have tried so much to get his paper work done and nothing has worked. We are even too scared now to try paperwork again for the fear of losing even more money, time, and patience. And because of illegaly entry as an infant, he will be forced with the 10 year bar as well.

    Moving to Mexico is something that we knew would eventually have to be, and so we made the decision and will be moving to Puerto Vallarta in October 2009. I have come to terms with having to go, and am oh so nervous, but ready. I am also excited and can’t wait, i have been reading non-stop about what is to be expected and then stumbled onto your e-book. It has wonderful information and anwsers so many of my questions and i havent even finished reading everything yet!

    Were you/are you fluent in spanish when you left the U.S.? If i may ask; How old were you when you left the U.S? And how old are you now? Do you know the cost of having children in Mexico (hospital bill)? Are you near your husbands family?

    Im sorry for my never ending questions, I will have to learn not to know every detail with somethings and not be in “control” so much 🙂

    Thank you,
    Tosha

  6. Julia Taylor Apr 12

    Tosha,

    I’m glad you wrote. I was in my mid 20s when we moved to Mexico. Now I’m in my 30s! We were 5 hours from my husband’s family because they live in a more traditional area and I wanted to be in a larger city where I would have more opportunities.

    I’m so glad you have found the book helpful! That makes my day.

    I guess you mean you will be moving in October of 2010, since October 2009 has already past.

    You can make it a great experience even though it will be hard at times. I’m a much better person from living in Mexico and I’m glad we moved.

    The cost of having children depends on in which hospital, which doctor, and sometimes if it’s natural or Cesarean (though I think you should pick a doctor that charges the same no matter which it is because it removes the motivation for them to do a cesarean on you). I have some other posts about childbirth in Mexico that you might like. See http://home-sweet-mexico.com/how-i-ensured-natural-childbirth-for-myself-my-husband-and-our-baby-in-mexico.html/

    Kindest Regards, Julia C Taylor

  7. Beth Price May 15

    Mrs. Taylor,
    I have yet to buy your book, I shall tomorrow! I bet I have a question you haven’t been asked yet. My boyfriend has been in the U.S. for 7 years and he, for lack of a better way to put it, came the only way he could. I went through a bad marriage and, as a result, had a tubal ligation. My boyfriend has no children and, as you know, family is extremely important. I have checked into the reversal procedure here and the price keeps it out of our reach. We are planning to move next year and I was wondering if you could tell me where I would go in order to check on this procedure being done in MX.? Any information you could throw my way would be helpful. I will be sure to post after I read your book!

  8. Julia Taylor May 18

    Hi Ms. Price,

    Thank you for your interest in my book. I wish I could give you more information about the reversal procedure, but my best advice is that when you get to Mexico find two or three doctors that you think you can trust (through referrals) and talk to them about it.

    Kindest Regards, Julia C Taylor

  9. Beth Pineda Jun 15

    I have a serious question I hope you can help me with. First let me say I am very sorry about the situation regarding your husbands immigration issues. You are very brave and brillant for writing this book. My problem is I married a mexican in 1984. We got his paper work after a 2 year long battle. I now realize was no battle at all in comparison to the new laws and what you have faced. My husband is my best friend. We seperated over 17 years ago. He has never remarried and has stayed a close loayal friend close to me and my family. My last living family member died in January 2009. My husbands family has become estranged from him over time and distance and economics. He had one sister married to a professional and doing well in Salinas Victoria Nuevo Leon. She was our main source of contact with his family.We were last there in 1998. His last letter or phone call was 2005. There phone was disconnected or changed. no response to letters mailed. Any idea on how to find missing family there? We are getting a dissolution and I do not want to leave him without any family.

  10. Julia Taylor Jun 16

    Beth,

    I wish I could give you a hopeful answer, but the truth is that the way we find extended family members with whom we have lost touch is through other extended family members.

    Since the spouse was professional, it might be worth it to try to find them through Facebook, though I am certainly no expert in that.

    I wish you both the best of luck.

    Regards, Julia C Taylor

  11. maria Oct 19

    hi it’s interesting to know that there are alot of people from the us going thru the same thing i went thru a couple years ago since you don’t see where i’m at spouses that really care or want to help their mexican boyfriend or husband.they have a very bad stereotype about marriage w/ mexican.well my problem like yours was i married a mexican citizen and was trying to get him legal i came out w/ alittle luck he didn’t get deported and also he got married before w/ the 1-245 which he could wait for his papers here his other ex left him and didn’t take care of buisness just left him w/ the petion but i hired a lawyer to use the same law but with me thank god it worked to make the story short i know it’s hard when your fighting to have a loved one stay w/ you and keep the same life you’ve always known. i’m so scare to visit mexico since i hear so much about the crime rate but since he has his paper he dosen’t want to loose the chance to be w/his family this christmas 2010. what do you suggest?

  12. Julia Taylor Oct 20

    Maria,

    Thank you for your comment.

    Congratulations on being able to get your husband’s permanent residence. I can see why he would like to visit his family. Being able to live in the country of your choice and visit family where ever they are is such a gift. Don’t worry about the reports of violence you see in the media. If you are going to a city such as Ciudad Juarez or Tijuana, then talk with your husband and his family ahead of time about any safety precautions they would recommend. They will know what’s been going on in their neighbourhoods and if there is anything you should do or not do to keep safe. Otherwise, go, relax, and have a great time in Mexico! News reports of violence tend to create fear where it’s not necessary.

    When you read reports of violence in the city or town you are currently living in, you are able to put it in perspective so that it doesn’t fill you with fear, right? Keep that in mind when you read about violence in Mexico. The news reports the really terrible events, not the “kazillion” wonderful events that happen every day, right?

    In fact, you are probably in greater “danger” of suffering from culture shock during Christmas in Mexico if you are used to having it in the U.S. You might enjoy my articles about my Christmas experiences in Mexico at http://home-sweet-mexico.com/christmas-mexico.html/. Christmas is celebrated differently in each town and by each family, but the articles may start some fun conversations between you and your spouse before you go.

    Enjoy your Christmas vacation!

    Kindest Regards,

    Julia C Taylor

  13. maria Oct 25

    hi again! thank you so much for responding i feel better about going to mexico i was just worried i have kids and didn’t want to put them in harms way.but you’re right crime happens everywhere it’s just you have to put fears away and enjoy life.by the way we are going to cuernavaca “la cuidad de eterna primavera” i know i can wait to celebrate christmas there.but thank you again for you opinion.good luck with what you’re going thru you will be rewarded with what you need in time for helping so many people cope w/ their situation.happy thanksgiving and merry christmas!

  14. Julia Taylor Oct 26

    Thanks Maria!

    You are going to have a great time!

    Kindest Regards,

    Julia C Taylor

  15. Sandra Szczepanski de Flores Jan 5

    Thank you so much for your site, it’s funny and informative.

    I oddly enough have the opposite problem, I’m 27 and on December 13th, 2010 I married a Mexican, in Mexico. I plan on staying here and getting my citizenship.

    It’s such a pain, I think I’ve spent more time in the immigration office in the past month than I have in my own house. Currently I’m on an FM3 work visa but I’m no longer with that company (they’re in a different city than where I’m living) and the visa is only good for that company, so currently we are on 1 salary, barely making ends meet.

    Now I want to change it to an FM2 immigrant visa but that’s thousands of pesos and more paperwork than I ever immagined. I’m also trying to change my name because when the time comes I need 2 last names and being canadian i only have 1. Did you know that a woman doesn’t change her name here after marriage, she simply signs a new one on all her documents! So we have gotten a lawyer (a friend who is doing us a favor luckly) to get my name legally changed, then i need to go to the Canadian embassy and file a name change on my passport and then wait between 2 and 5 years to start the citizenship process which can take up to 5 years more.

    It’s all so frustrating, and there are no set rules anywhere, 1 person says you can’t work on an FM2 another says you can but you have to file seperate papers, then on top of it all, once i get the FM2 I’m clocking time to my citizenship so the time i can leave mexico for is very limited and risky, if I don’t have proper documents for when I leave and return my time goes back to zero and I have to start the whole process again.

    it’s insane, I feel like my head is going to explode!

    I completely understand what you must have gone through.

  16. Julia Taylor Jan 7

    Sandra,

    Doing paperwork in Mexico is a full-time job and requires a lot of patience and investigation skills — and that’s an understatement!

    Good luck. Wear a hat. It’ll keep your head from exploding.

    Kindest Regards, Julia C Taylor

  17. mari Apr 3

    Hello! My name is mari and I am 8 months pregnant with my boyfriends son. We have been so happy throughout our relationship but recently he got into an altercation with an illegal honduran and ended up getting charged with a felony 4. Being that we are in 2011 and laws have changed…is it true that he can still get his papers later on down the line? I know it’s going to be rough, but was wondering if anyone knows. I am. Able to live in mexico as I grew up in a carribean country, but was wondering what you knew about an illegal having a felony 4 on his record and if he is ever able to get legalized? Thanks!

  18. Julia Taylor Apr 3

    Mari,

    I really don’t know how that may affect your boyfriend’s chances of getting permanent residence approved in the U.S. Our case only involved a violation of immigration law. You are wise to ask the question and even though it may be expensive, I would strongly advise that you contact an immigration lawyer to find out. If cost is an issue, it is sometimes possible to find a lawyer who offers their services through a charity. You could see if there is one in your area.

    I hope that you can work it out for the best future for yourself, your baby, and your boyfriend.

    Regards,

    Julia C Taylor

  19. Latosha Oct 29

    I’m a bit confused with immigration, as i am sure many are. I married my husband in the US when i was 19 years old and he was 18 & 4 months. He was/is illegal in the US. He was never deported, and does not have any felonies. And we are living in Mexico. So i am unsure how the process would work for us. Should i just get in contact with the US embassy?

    Thank you in advance.

  20. Julia Taylor Nov 7

    Latosha,

    I wish I knew the answer for you. Maybe another spouse of an “alien” will read this and add something useful. Maybe start with some phone calls so you can talk to a person at the embassy without getting any official paper trail started until you are sure about the best way to proceed. The embassy might just tell you their idea of the right way to do it and keep you stuck in Mexico longer than needed. This being said, do NOT have him sneak into the country. You don’t want to up the ante here and get punishments heaped on top of you.

    Different parts of the law apply to people depending on what rules they broke. The fact he was never deported seems like a very good thing! Yay! Hopefully, it can be a simple application process for you.

    I think finding an experienced immigration lawyer would be a wise idea — I know, they are prohibitively expensive. If you have time, there are some groups who offer lawyers at low prices. The only one I know about is Catholic Charities (you don’t have to be Catholic to receive the services), but there must be others. Here are three of many Catholic Charities web sites: http://www.catholiccharitiesoregon.org/services_legal_services.asp, http://www.catholiccharitiesny.org/get-help/contact-us/, http://www.catholiccharitiesdallas.org/.

    I wish you and your husband the best of luck — no matter in which country you live.

    Julia C Taylor

  21. TaJuana Dec 17

    Maybe you can answer this question for me, my partner and I have been together for 4 years. We want to get married. He wants to go back home to Mexico to live, its hard for him to get a job here. I am on disability, and Social Security, I would like to move there and live. I’m american, will i lose my benifits, if we marry in mexico? He doesn’t plan to return. I’d like to return at least twice a yr. to go to the doctor, and visit my family.

  22. V. Lynne Jan 18

    My boyfriend is 17 years old and is illegal in the US. We went to go see an immigration attorney and he said that my boyfriend has to go back to Mexico in order to obtain a visa. They also said since he is under age that if he goes back to Mexico voluntarily that he won’t have to stay there for ten years but just apply for a visa. But I am scared because of the drug related crimes that he won’t even live to apply for a visa. Should he go back to Mexico or not? And he also committed crimes/felons in the US, would that hurt his chances to get a visa?

    Thanks!

  23. Julia Taylor Jan 19

    V. Lynne,

    I feel for you guys. I’m not a lawyer and I can’t comment or offer advice on how your boyfriend’s case would be best managed. Immigration law is complex and each person falls under a different section of it. I’m not sure how crimes/felons effect applications for visas. That is a very important thing to figure out before deciding on a course of action.

    As far as the drug related crimes, I wouldn’t let that be the deciding factor for him/you. His long-term goals and the information he gathers through careful discussion with a lawyer should be what he bases his decision on. If he goes to Mexico to apply for a U.S. visa, he’ll have to take precautions to be safe and stay out of trouble — as he should be doing in the U.S. as well!

    I wish you both the best of luck.

    Kindest Regards, Julia C Taylor

  24. Jennifer Soto Jun 8

    Is there a way to get a print version of your book? I don’t have a computer at home and will be in trouble at work if I download and read it here! Is the 10 year ban still in practice, and if so is there any chance that you have heard to reverse it anytime soon?

  25. hector roman Sep 19

    Hector Roman 26,
    I had lived my life in the u.s. since i was 2 years old and now i have been deported to mexico. i have tried crossing the border but it is very dangerous and expensive and i havent been succesfull. I have spoken with my wife about comming to mexico to live with me and to bring our children but she say that she doesnt want to leave everything she has accomplished in the u.s. she is 28 she owns her own home and well she is a pharmacy tech for kaiser hospital. she also says that our kids dont speak spanish and it wouldnt be fair to change their life around. i keep begging her and pleading with her and plus shes 2 months pregnant but she doesnt want to do it. i know that with my english i can find some kind of okay job here plus i am planning to live in rosarito not in tj. i dont know what to do i mean my wife has been independant since the age of 18 and i think that is the biggest issue for her the fact that she doesnt want to fully rely on me but i told her she can still work for kaiser in chula vista but she would just have to commute in the mornings and about the kids i have done research and have found that there are bilingual schools and private schools that accomodate forein kids. What can i do is there any advice you can give me_ i really dont want to loose my family.

  26. Julia Taylor Sep 23

    Hector,

    I can’t offer any advice that would make this any easier. I’m so sorry that your family has to go through this. Of course, both you and your wife are right.

    It seems lame, but all I can do is wish you all the very best.

    Kindest Regards, Julia C Taylor

    P.S. It would be a long road and would take at least two years, but you could try immigrating to Canada….

  27. Sharon Jan 1

    January 1, 2013

    I just stumbled across your site and am very interested in getting your book. However, the site does not state when it was last updated. I am curious to know when the second edition of your book was published. Does it take into consideration the new immigration laws set into motion November 2012. My husband was just deported Dec. 3 and I am at this moment packing and selling my possessions to move to Mexico to be with him. Thank you for any advice and information.

    Sharon

  28. Julia Taylor Jan 2

    Thank you, Sharon, for your interest in my book. The second edition, which is currently for sale (in January 2013) does not take into account the new immigration laws. I am currently working on the 3rd edition, which is fully updated and does discuss the November 2012 immigration changes. Unfortunately, my full time job (this book and web site are my hobby) and parenting keep me so busy I do not know exactly when I will have it done. I really wish it were done already!

    You may still find the current edition useful because, like you, I had to move to Mexico with very limited time to plan and prepare. Do go to the nearest Mexican consulate or embassy to learn which type of visa you will be applying for and get that process started. Depending on your situation, you may be able to apply from within Mexico with you husband at your side.

    I’m sorry to read about your husband’s deportation. I wish you the very best in your transition to Mexico!

  29. rebecca miceli Jan 8

    i have a friend that lives in mexico now for the last 2 years. She was brought to the us as a child illegally and grew up, got married to an american and had a baby in the usa. unfortunately her husband got in some trouble that landed him in prison for about 5 years. mean while she moved back to mexico 2 years ago with her american baby girl. her husband is due to be free in anotheryear or so. She is trying to become legal in the USA and asked me to contact a lawyer. my question is , is this possible to do from Mexico and her using me as a sort of a sponsor isnt something i would get in trouble for, is it? thank you

  30. carmen m Jan 18

    Would it be safer to inmmigrat to canada

  31. Julia Taylor Jan 22

    Carmen M,

    Likely it would, but I can’t say for sure.

    Regards, Julia

  32. Julia Taylor Jan 22

    Rebecca,

    My heart goes out to your friend. I can’t say for sure about what could get you into trouble. I don’t think finding a lawyer and asking about it would get you into trouble — it didn’t for me — so why not start there? That’s what lawyers are for.

    You may have more to worry about from the husband who has done something that has landed him in jail. When he gets out, maybe he will be the right person to sponsor your friend. A lawyer can help you with the options, but will likely need special permission to talk about someone else’s situation to a third party.

    The best of luck to you and your friend.

    Regards,

    Julia C Taylor

  33. Heather Robles Feb 8

    My husband was deported in Aug. of 2011. I am very ill and had no choice but to move to Mexico with him and our son of 10 years old. I am in Cholula Puebla and actually love it here. I do miss my parents and oldest son back home. My husband and i have talked and would so love to be able to go back to the states to be able to live just 6 months out of the year. We went to the immigration office once we were here in Mexico as we had to prove he was back in his country to release the bond money i paid to get him out of immigration jail till his last court date. They told us he could apply for a Visa after 2 months even though he had been deported 5 times total in a 20 year span. I do not know if what the President is concocting is going to help us at all as i know they just want our money to Deny him anyway.

  34. Michele Flores Feb 25

    Hello! I was happy to come across your blog looking for other expats living in Morelos.My husband like yours would be facing a 9c ban if we tried to “fix his papers” here in the US so I’m researching and we are considering the option of leaving voluntarily and moving to Morelos (Atlatlahucan) for the 10 years. I’ve only visited a few times so naturally I’m nervous at even the idea and have a million questions that I hope will be answered reading your book.
    Are you back in the US yet? An update would be nice!

  35. Shirley Reyes Jul 21

    I relocated after trying to stay with family. I just couldn’t do it.I filed my paperwork 2 years ago and am stuck at nvc. Leaving all we built was hard.my children are sick and I fear the separation anxiety may win one day. I pray for better days.

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